December 28, 2011

LCSOM: Random Thoughts on a Random Day

- went to NMSU's new Barnes and Nobel bookstore on their campus and was immediately struck by how different it was from every other B&N I have ever been to. How different you ask? Well, here are a few I noticed: It had an outdoor fireplace just outside of the cafe, with tables and chairs; it had a little grocery store stocked with product obviously aimed at the students there, including energy drinks, soda, tons of snack foods, a small selection of dorm essentials like shampoo and deodorant. Just inside the main entrance, first thing you see - not books, but fast food. 

-in the B&N parking lot there were two handicap parking slots and 6 spots right next to it for hybrid cars. I figure its mostly the teachers driving hybrids but being these cars get such great gas mileage, shouldn't they be farther away from the entrance, not closer?

-Dion's is fast becoming a favorite of Mrsfabp and myself. It is like a higher class Papa Gino's except the cost is very reasonable. They make a tremendous Italian sub sandwich, which is served with a container of salad dressing on the side to put on it. Their pizza, sort of a California style (as opposed to NY style), is very toasty and topped with giant mounds of toppings. There always is a crowd of diners there and the take out crowd is constant.

-I have now come about full circle with what you call a a sandwich served on a long roll. It was hero or sub in NYC, hoagie in Philly, grinder in Massachusetts, Poboy in the deep south, and now sub here in Las Cruces. On the trip down I twice asked for a grinder and was met with quizzical looks. I repeated it the first time before realizing the waitress did not know what a grinder was. This also happened to me when I asked for a club soda in Louisiana. There it is called soda water. Who knew?

-Kanye drinks water by dipping his paw in the bowl and licking it off his paw. He drinks cereal milk in the "traditional" cat way. I wonder why this is so. 

Sent to you from our new iMac!!!

December 22, 2011

LCSOM: How did she do that?

So, one of the best things that has been happening in our move to Las Cruces was learning to use the GPS in my cellphone to get directions. Outside of a problem outside of Houston, where we ran into a closed road and our GPS kept sending us the same way, it has been great (it has a female voice so I will call it a she for the time being.) She is accurate and always seems to send us in the quickest, shortest route. My only complaint is that she drains the cellphone battery something awful so we have to keep a charger in the car, especially if we have a complicated route that is long, but this is easy to deal with.

I always wondered how she would handle the Spanish words both when I am speaking a destination to her or when she calls out streets during the directions. Generally, she has been fine. When I talk to her and use Spanish words, she may not get the spelling right but she has been able to figure it out and give accurate directions. Her pronunciation has been a different story. She has had minor issues with words like "solano" but our favorite has been when she says "AMADOR", a major crossroad her in town. It is properly pronounced AM-A-DOR, with both "A's" short. However she has consistently said A-MADE-OR, with emphasis on the second syllable. The first time we heard it, we had no idea what she said but after a couple times we understood what she was saying and always giggled when she said it.

Today however, something happened. As we were driving to the store, we were going to turn onto Amador Avenue but she suddenly pronounced it correctly, and continued to do so several more times in the set of directions. We were speechless. How did that happen? We have never said the word Amador to her. I always dictate the place we want, like Walmart, or Encantada Park or Water and More, and she finds it and lets me choose the correct one if there are multiple listings. But I never said Amador, not once. 

It makes us wonder if she is listening in to our conversations, and what else she may have heard!

December 19, 2011

LCSOM: Where do we go from here?

So, we're in the house for just over a week and we are ready to make the next step in the adjustment to life in Las Cruces. I never actually counted the number of boxes that we packed in North Brookfield but I would guesstimate it was about 100. Probably 20 of those were kitchen things, maybe 20 were clothing and the rest could generously be described as nick nacks. The nick nacks run the gamet from pictures from our walls and other assorted treasures to trinkets. Some of the stuff is in the "I used to think that this was important and now wonder why I put this in a box and dragged it 3000 miles" category. Some other stuff can be summed up by a note on one of the boxes in Mrsfabp's handwriting - "TFabP's stuff, computer and other technocrap." 

The kitchen stuff is mostly unpacked and put away although I use that term "put away" very loosely. Actually we are in the "Where did you put the _____?" phase. but I can be comfortable with that. The clothing boxes are all moved into the bedroom and maybe 1/2 has been put away, and I use the term "put away" very loosely again. Put away as in draped over every piece of furniture and boxes all over the room. All this leaves us with some 15 boxes of stuff, and the problem of how to deal with this.

At this point, with the beginning of the week before Christmas here, we need to establish a plan. We were so busy the last couple of days preparing to host our first friend's get together that we really only touched on the subject a bit. One thing we are in agreement about is the "culling of the herd of boxes." We have too much stuff, its as simple as that. We need to sort it, trash it or put it away, and move on. We were able to do this before when we began packing to move. We did two separate runs through our stuff and ended up tossing or recycling about half of it before we ever knew we were moving. That last statement really frightens me because we still moved OVER 100 BOXES OF STUFF. What did we leave behind?

Tomorrow will be busy as we have lots to do. I expect we will tackle the clothing situation, if only to attempt to tame the beast. After that, I hope we begin the weeding process for those last 15 boxes. It will be interesting to see,just how much we get rid of. Both the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores are close by and will enjoy the fruits of our labor. We shall see what we can accomplish!


December 17, 2011

Latest Las Cruces State of Mind blog post

LCSOM: An Update After 25 Days

It is so hard to believe it has been almost a month since our arrival in Las Cruces. Post unboxing,  we have been super busy just doing the retirement thing. With the arrival of a new computer, I thought it was tie for an update as to what is happening.

A few random notes:

- Gas prices have continued to drop since we left New York City. The prices in Massachusetts were at about $3.43 per gallon. They went up as we got to NYC they actually went up a bit into the $3.60 range and then began to drop steadily as we headed south. They bottomed out for our trip in Biloxi, MS at $2.99, the first time I have seen below $3.00 a gallon gas in like years. There was a rise from there until Las Cruces where it was about $3.15. In the last 25 days it has dropped steadily again. I got gas yesterday at $2.84. I also have been filling up less frequently, which I will explain in the next random note.

- One of our latest observations has been that everything, EVERTHING is so much closer to us. We live in a gated community near town center. We are able to get to so many of our favorite places in 5 minutes or less. Downtown is 4 minutes away, Library 3 minutes, anyone of maybe 10 nice restaurants are all less than 10 minutes away, the closest Mall, about 7 minutes, Doctor's office and hospital, under ten minutes, the desert, less than 15 minutes. So yesterday we ran errands from about 9 am till about 5, visiting at least 7 different places and traveling less than 15 miles. No wonder why we are filling up less often. 

- This has happened several times in the past two weeks. We enter a store in late morning and do what we need to do. We exit the store in the early afternoon and we are blinded by the bright afternoon sun. Within seconds we are warmed like we never have been in December, EVER. It literally lifts our spirits and brings smiles to our face. People keep telling us that the weather is usually better than this. BETTER? I cannot imagine it being any better than this in December but if it is I'm down with that. 

- We just got our new iMac in the mail. From this, I now can use the iPad. See Mrsfabp sort of liked to bogart the iPad. She needs to check her gmail, and twitter, and Facebook, and loved to watch shows from Netflix, especially at bedtime. She immediately bonded with the iMac to the point that she has given up her usual routine of checking her stuff in the morning on the iPad, all over the place - bed, kitchen, living room couch, while sipping her coffee. This morning she did so on the iMac in the computer nook. I expect her to spend a great deal of time there, especially because CollegeBoy has set us up with a media player that gets all kinds of stuff that she will like. My only hope is that she will again get addicted to the TV, which we haven't had for over a year, but get for free as part of our house lease. Come on cable! Weave your addictive magic.

- I have not watched traditional TV in over a year. I have not missed it. This week I sat with Mrsfabp and watched two reality shows - "Virgin Diaries" and "Toddlers and Tiaras. I have never, NEVER been so revolted by something on TV, ever. The Virgin show is ridiculous at best. Why would someone who values virginity, turn around and sell it on TV? The Toddlers show is, as far as I'm concerned, child abuse. If I saw this happening live I think that I would have to, as a social worker who is a mandatory reporter of abuse, would have no qualms in reporting any, ANY of those mothers. That was far more than ridiculous, it is abuse, no doubt. How can we as a society that tries to protect our children, allow this exploitation, this sexualizing of toddlers, TODDLERS! Sorry, I am repulsed. I have not missed this shit.

- Every day, the mountains look different. Sometimes its the snow, sometimes it is the light of the morning sun or setting sun, sometimes it is the clouds. There is a main avenue in Las Cruces where you travel directly toward the Organ Mountains. You come up over a rise in the road and all you can see is the mountains. No cars, no roads, no stores, nothing but the mountains. It is the million dollar view and truly represents one of the major reasons we decided to move here. That and the sun. And the warm winter weather. And the friends.

- Tomorrow,we host our first friends get together. It is a warmup for a dinner we will host on Christmas Eve day before heading to the Mesilla Plaza for the festivities. Am I worried? Nah, I'm scared to death but I believe our friends to be so supportive, they will enjoy all that we do. Did you hear that guys? Supportive! 


December 11, 2011

LCSOM: Unboxing Day

Friday, I learned that Canada and Great Britain have nothing on us. They only have "Boxing Day",  the day after Christmas as a holiday. The origins of the holiday are ambiguous at best, somehow related to servants that worked Christmas Day and got the next day off.

We, on the other hand, had the acclaimed holiday that all people who move have, "Unboxing Day" with the traditional gathering of friends, who would rather be anywhere else, doing anything else except participating in this holiday. This holiday comes in two parts -the carrying in of the boxes, sometimes up multiple flights of stairs, and the Unboxing of all the boxes just carried in. If you are lucky, the box owners did not mark the boxes well and time is spent trying to figure out what is in each one. This is great entertainment, especially when the unboxed item is of a personal nature, leading to much chagrin on the part of the owner and gales of laughter or snorts of embarrassment by the unboxers. 

Our holiday went well, mostly because of the help of some friends who somehow did not mind giving up a wonderful afternoon of warm weather and sunshine to assist. They were in good spirits, helped keep us smiling and handled the discovery of rogue underwear with aplomb and class. There really is no way to thank these troopers for all their help. Clair, Bill, Helen, KJ, thanks so much for your time, energy and companionship. This is what friendship is all about, celebrating the holidays together, like Unboxing Day 

Next on the agenda is going through all the boxes, wondering why in the world we brought this or that, questioning what might be in any of the unmarked boxes and trying to figure out what will go where, and when. We have a big job ahead of us, but at least the first part went without a hitch. 

Once again, thanks people! I promise we will never move again!

December 8, 2011

New update...

Las Cruces State of Mind (LCSOM): Openings and Closings

Yesterday was the closing on our new home. Surprisingly, there was some anxiety about the process. I wondered if it was feeling, this made things permanent, or if it was just spending all that money, or even of it was questioning our decision to move to a gated community. After turning over the checks, we got busy moving the stuff from the hotel and car into the house. Our house.

As the day progressed we kept busy, unpacking what we have, going to new doctor appointments and rushing back home for the delivery of a futon for one of the guest rooms. Several times during the day I found myself just looking at Mrsfabp and smiling, knowing this was the right thing for us. After a minute or two one of us would ask the other if they were happy and the answer always came back yes.

The next few days will prove to be very busy, exciting and thought provoking. Thursday is finishing the arranging of stuff already here, Mrsfabp taking a library test, and possibly grocery shopping or going to look at more furniture. Friday begins the "Great Unboxing" first from the U-Boxes into the house and then the grand opening of the boxes we have moved in. It's hard to think that our lives are all summed up in three U-Boxes and the stuff we had crammed in the car and driven 3000 miles with (BTW, that seems so long ago...). But as I sit here watching the sun rise over the edge of the mountains and fill our new kitchen with light and warmth, I realize that our lives are more then those boxes, it is our kids coming to visit in three weeks, it is our new friends here, it is exploring and learning and enjoying what we have here, right now.

Life is good, it is really good...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

December 6, 2011

Las Cruces State of Mind (LCSOM): Stories about a new life in New Mexico

This will be a new banner for a series on the first few weeks of life in Las Cruces. First, some random thoughts on the new beginning

- LCNM got hit with a major snowstorm yesterday. It snowed non-stop from 10 am to after midnight. Snow total - a dusting. Massachusetts laughs at this. The city was brought to its knees. School was cancelled, the library closed. It took us 1 hour to travel 1.3 miles home last night. The Mass Turnpike laughs at this.

-some bizarre sights in last two days: automatic sprinkler systems watering lawns in midst of storm. It was freezing onto bushes and grass like a good old fashion Massachusetts ice storm. Another: cars crawling along on the edge of the road by the curb. Are they hoping they won't spin off the road? One final one: at IHOP for breakfast, I saw a man putting Texas Hot Sauce on his pancakes along with syrup. Not on sausage or bacon, ON THE PANCAKES,

- Our closing on the house is Wednesday at 10 am. It feels weird carrying around a large certified check. 

- Unfortunately we cannot get our U-Boxes delivered until Friday midday. We have hired some "ninjas" to unload them for us. That was the nickname our friend Clair gave them when they tiled her home. Something about them disappearing for 3 hour lunches. Fortunately our job should only take 2 hours, so no break for you! 

-Our car looks like a traveling gypsy caravan. We have way more then one car worth of stuff divided between the hotel room and the car. So much for organization...

-In the middle of the storm we went to our friend and new neighbor's home for coffee and homemade biscotti. I expect to spend a lot of time there because Mrsfabp will not make me biscotti, my favorite cookie. 

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !